Subscribe: Africa Unchained
Preview: Africa Unchained

Emergent Africa

Inspired by George Ayittey's book 'Africa Unchained'.

Updated: 2018-04-22T08:52:06.543-04:00


Sencirk a Circus from Senegal


The VOA highlights Sencirk:
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Intangible Heritage - Woodcrafting knowledge of the Zafimaniry #Madagascar


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The Zafimaniry community is the sole remaining repository of a unique woodcraft culture previously widespread on the island...[more]

Decolonise science – time to end another imperial era


Rohan Deb Roy writes:
Sir Ronald Ross had just returned from an expedition to Sierra Leone. The British doctor had been leading efforts to tackle the malaria that so often killed English colonists in the country, and in December 1899 he gave a lecture to the Liverpool Chamber of Commerce about his experience. In the words of a contemporary report, he argued that “in the coming century, the success of imperialism will depend largely upon success with the microscope”...[more]

In #Nigeria tackling public sector #corruption starts and ends with technology - @asemota


Victor Asemota writes:
1999 was a big year for Nigerian technology. The fear of the Y2K bug and the drive by institutions to become compliant was a boost to hardware sales and software implementation. Proposals got sent to everyone, and we were lucky to have been chosen to implement our custom built ERP solution for one of the largest federal government parastatals...[more]

Essential reading - 'How Asia Works'


A book by Joe Studwell:
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Establishing Endowments for African Universities—Strategies for Implementation


Damtew Teferra writes:
Not long ago, Brown University, an American Ivy League institution, received $100 million from a philanthropist as an endowment to build a scholarship fund for needy students.Such philanthropic donations in U.S. higher education are a unique part of the institutional culture in the United States,aided both by tradition and by enabling tax policies. Leading universities enjoy massive endowments, and even many less prestigious colleges and universities have such funds available...[more]

Ahmed Baba: Timbuktu′s famous scholar


Over at DW:
Ahmed Baba was one of the great African intellectuals of the 16th century. A prolific writer and Islamic scholar, his works include a legal opinion on slavery and a number of biographies of famous jurists...[More]

Biosciences for Farming in Africa


Biosciences for Farming in Africa (B4FA), an independent not-for-profit initiative with no commercial interests, works to provide balanced, scientifically-based information on best practice, innovation and entrepreneurship to enable African farmers to unlock the continent’s agricultural potential.

Scientific African - A New Journal


Elsevier reports
Next Einstein Forum launches Scientific African, an open access multi-disciplinary journal to boost the global reach of research from Africa...[more]

The Monopoly of Evil : Not a good story about #Nigeria - @asemota


Victor Asemota writes:
Three experiences have shaped the way I now look at Nigeria. My current views are very different from those of the idealistic patriot that I was in 1983 who was willing even to risk his life to restore MKO Abiola’s mandate. I was also one of those in university who raged against the military regimes and felt that democracy was the best way forward for Nigeria. Boy! Was I wrong? As bad as the military governments were for human rights, I don’t think the injustices performed in those eras come even close to the injustices that Nigerians have suffered during our so-called democratic republics...[more]

African tools push back the origins of human technological innovation


Over at
...Writing at the turn of the millennium, archaeologists Sally McBrearty and Allison Brooks complained that this view was Eurocentric and brought about by a profound under-appreciation of the depth and complexity of the African archaeological record. They argued that components of the "human revolution" were to be found in the African Middle Stone Age some 280,000-50,000 years ago.

The role of climate change

Now, two decades later, Brooks and her colleagues have presented well-dated evidence from the Olorgesailie Basin in Kenya that places the evolution of some of these behaviours much further back in time. They highlight technological change at around 300,000 years ago that likely occurred in response to the effects of long-term, global environment
More here

Intangible Cultural Heritage - Vimbuza healing dance


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Vimbuza is a healing dance popular among the Tumbuka people living in northern Malawi. It is an important manifestation of the ng’oma, a healing tradition found throughout Bantu-speaking Africa. Ng’oma, meaning “drums of affliction”, carries considerable historical depth and, despite various attempts over the years to suppress it, remains a fundamental part of indigenous healthcare systems...[more]

Nigerian economy: Why Lagos works ... what can the rest of #Nigeria learn from it?


Over at the FT:
In a country that is a byword for poor governance, Lagos is thriving — attracting investment and private enterprise. So what can the rest of Nigeria learn from it?
More here

Unlocking Africa’s Industrial Corridors


From WEF:
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In #Africa , Jobs cannot be created by force


From Stears Business cannot be created by force or fiat, and any effort to do so will cause more harm than good in the long run. Here is what is supposed to happen: a need arises in society that creates demand for a worker, e.g. a push for energy diversification increases demand for solar engineers, and hiring this worker is welfare-improving (justifying the wages paid).
More here

Africa’s past is inspiring some of its most interesting fiction today


In the Economist:
Though Hollywood is increasingly interested in African history, your best bet is still a good novel, which African writers are producing in abundance...[more]

Fighting Corruption the Correct Way - George Ayittey


George Ayittey writes:
There is no consensus in the literature about what constitutes corruption, nor what causes it. Some have argued that corruption is a culturally ingrained practice among Africans...[more]

Does the Muslim world need a scientific renaissance? - Jim al-Khalili


Jim al-Khalili writing in Al Jazeera:
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Remembering the Arab world's era of scientific achievement, Jim al-Khalili asks if Islamic science can flourish again.
There are more than a billion Muslims in the world today. The economies of Muslim countries - like Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States, Iran, Turkey, Egypt, Morocco, Malaysia and Pakistan - have been growing steadily for a number of years.

And yet, when compared to the West, the Islamic world often seems disengaged from modern science.

Why is this?

One of the reasons is that many Muslims still see science as a secular, even atheist, Western construct...[more]

Meet Bheki - the Mbhaco Maker


From South African Tourism:
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How I use the drum to tell my story - Kasiva Mutua at #TEDGlobal


Kasiva Mutua at #TEDGlobal 2017:
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From the Africa Report:
Robots and artificial intelligence are upending traditional pathways to industrialisation and threatening the jobs that go with it. The Africa Report scours the continent for the best strategies for survival and evolution...[more]

Satellites for survival: Saving lives in #Nigeria


From Devex:
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By using apps installed onto tablets, health care workers in Nigeria are able to access video trainings, conduct disease surveillance, and circumvent the laborious standard paper system and upload patient data directly onto the cloud. Devex takes a look at a new partnership helping to revolutionize health coverage in some of the remote villages in some of the country’s rural areas.

Africa is currently experiencing another form of slavery through Pentecostalism - Kay Musonda


From Kay Musonda:
We are now mentally lazy and our ability to reason scientifically has been incapacitated.

The African pastor won’t talk about Usain Bolt or Serena Williams. The African Pastor won’t talk about Steve Jobs or the young people in Silicon Valley reshaping our world.

They won’t talk about young American scientists spending endless hours in search of a cure to a disease that’s predominantly in the Tropical African Region.

The African pastor won’t talk about Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie or Ben Okri. In every corner of the world, there exist young men and women who have defied all odds and become successful through hard work, creativity, and dedication….

The African pastor won’t talk about them, neither will he ask his members to emulate the spirit of these individuals.

He would rather talk about sister Agatha who got a job she *WAS NOT THE MOST QUALIFIED FOR*because she prayed and fasted in line with their church programme or brother John a millionaire because he used all his salary as a seed in the church, or Papa Miracle who he laid his hands on and 3 of his children got admission in the university, or Mama Esther paid her tithe and her business started growing everywhere across the nation with no business plan, just boom, everywhere...[more]

Companies listed on the London Stock Exchange control over $1trillion worth of Africa’s resources in just five commodities - Britain’s New African Empire


From the Africa public policy research institute:
Companies listed on the London Stock Exchange control over $1trillion worth of Africa’s resources in just five commodities – oil, gold, diamonds, coal and platinum. My research for the NGO, War on Want, which has just been published, reveals that 101 companies, most of them British, control $305billion worth of platinum, $276billion worth of oil and $216billion worth of coal at current market prices. The ‘Scramble for Africa’ is proceeding apace, with the result that African governments have largely handed over their treasure...[more]

Fake processed food is becoming an epidemic in African urban life


Ndidi Nwuneli writes:
In late February, 14-year-olds Nahima and Yayaya, died after eating tainted biscuits at a classmate’s birthday celebration in their school, located just outside Nigeria’s capital Abuja. Several other children in their class were hospitalized. Panic and threats from angry parents forced a temporary school closure, but to date, there have been no efforts to investigate the root causes nor track or shut down the responsible company...[more]